A Norfolk man has blamed the global credit crunch and sub-prime debacle as justification for refusing to lend his lawnmower to his 84 year old neighbour. Council worker, Derek Sharp, 48, said he ‘wasn’t prepared to compromise his assets’ during what he described as ‘this period of uncertainty and turbulence.’
His bewildered neighbour, Jack Flowers, said he was ‘shocked and saddened’ by Mr Sharp’s refusal, especially as he had borrowed the Flymo many times during the eight years the two men have lived side by side in the terraced street in Fakenham. ‘I can’t understand it,’ said Mr Flowers. ‘I was looking forward to mowing the lawn for the first time this spring and I asked Derek if I could borrow the mower, as I have done dozens of times before. This time he just muttered something about ‘fiscal tightening’ and shut the door in my face. Well, I didn’t know what to do.’
Pressed to explain his actions after many unblemished years of generosity to his widowed war-veteran neighbour, Mr Sharp said: ‘I know it may seem harsh, but we are facing a crisis on the world financial markets and none of us are immune. Like millions of others around the world, I’ve had to review my lending criteria and I’ve decided that handing out my lawn mower willy nilly is just plain irresponsible.’ Mr Sharp pointed to the high profile cases of Northern Rock and Bear Stearns as justification for his prudence.
Last night, B&Q issued a statement saying the company was considering increasing the supply of mowers into its stores this summer in a bid to ease fears of a national mower lending crisis. A spokesman said: ‘We’re watching developments carefully. Mower lending is based on trust and confidence and we need to be prepared if the practice dries up.’
Meanwhile, Mr Flowers, has found salvation from a rather heavy old push mower lent to him by his grandson. ‘He’s a good lad…’ said the decorated war veteran, ‘And he only deducted a £7.50 handling charge on the £100 deposit, which isn’t bad in the current economic climate.’